We will also reveal the findings of our latest research on St George’s Day and the search for a possible alternative English patron saint.h/t Toque
What the blazes do they think they're doing?
Imagine the uproar if anybody even vaguely hinted at replacing St Andrew, St David or St Patrick. England, though, is fair game, as is England's Patron Saint.
St George was a fairly decent sort of fellow. They say he was executed for protecting poor and defenceless people, including Christians. Rumour has it that he killed dragons too - so maybe one of the rights groups doesn't like that idea, so they'd like him demoted. Thing is, you see, dragons are imaginary.
According to this site, he's got a fairly massive international following
George is the patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Germany and Greece; and of Moscow, Istanbul, Genoa and Venice (second to St Mark). He is patron of soldiers, cavalry and chivalry; of farmers and field workers, Boy Scouts and butchers; of horses, riders and saddlers; and of sufferers from leprosy, plague and syphilis. He is particularly the patron saint of archers, which gives special point to these famous lines from Shakespeare's Henry V, Act 3, Scene 1, l. 31:English patriotism you see, some people don't like it, not in any shape or form.
'I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge
Cry God for Harry, England and St George!'.
Indirectly, the spirit of George the soldier saint played a part in modern English history when Sir Laurence Olivier's film of Henry V was issued in 1944 as an encouragement to our armies fighting for the liberation of France.
And, by the way, St George's Day is 23rd April, same day as Shakespeare's birthday.